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Serato, Traktor etc for mixing tunes

Discussion in 'Electronic Music Producers Forum' started by catilyst, Feb 19, 2014.

  1. catilyst

    catilyst TRIBE Member

    Thinking of trying out some software for (dj) mixing tracks, just curious to hear views on the obvious and any not so obvious choices.

    *Be warned I'm a bit of a Luddite, the latest audio gear I own are needles for the technics1200 technics1200 ' bought four years ago lol, ei no super computer, quality sound board, effects etc.

    Any advice on software, necessary peripherals, installation (currently just have the standard two decks plus AH mixer) would be greatly appreciated.
  2. JamesM

    JamesM TRIBE Member

    a Few years back we bought a Vestax TR-1 on sale for only like $150 bucks at Play D, and it's the most solid little device ever. Works great on the Mac Mountain Lion, and the lady's Win7 Machine.

    I think I had to program the device manually though which was the only setback. This being Tracktor 3 and since they don't make new drivers for the TR1 since it's discontinued. But insert other device here, I suppose.

    We use a little USB $50 Soundblaster card as the secondary. In Windows 7 you can set up ASIO 4 ALL to get both working for your monitor, and in MAC you can set up an aggrate device.

    With Windows 7 though ASIO 4 ALL + USB soundcard, and Trackor = GARBLED SOUND unless you really tweak the buffer settings.

    Anyway. Solid machine the TR-1. No issues. Definately some growing pains involved going this route. It's fun if you need to mix something in a pinch with mp3s.

    We have our 1200's back, and I wish I just had a mixer.
  3. [- FuNKtiOn -]

    [- FuNKtiOn -] TRIBE Member

    If you've already got turntables, needles, and a mixer, just get Serato.
    You can find older units on Craigslist for a few hundred bucks, plug in your laptop and off you go.

    I've never actually used Traktor so can't give a head to head comparison on features and what not, but in my experience the majority that use vinyl turntables or cdjs go with Serato and those planning to use a hardware controller with sync and such, go with Traktor. But with Serato DJ coming out that could even shift.
  4. JamesM

    JamesM TRIBE Member

    stay away from sync! ask Aaron Bradley. He'll go ape shit on you.

    Some of this stuff (like the TR-1) with the pitch bend + - buttons works alot like the old school denon CD players.

    All the new controllers have the platter like the CDJs.
  5. Spinsah

    Spinsah TRIBE Member

    I played vinyl and then CDs for a decade before switching over to digital. After using Torq then Serato with control vinyl. I just went all the way digital and now use a Traktor S4 with the latest version of Traktor. In my opinion the interface for Traktor is much better than Serato, Torq or Virtual DJ. I do break out my 1200s occasionally just for old times sake.
  6. Spinsah

    Spinsah TRIBE Member

    And the whole righteousness over the sync button is absurd.
  7. alison87

    alison87 TRIBE Member

    Bitching about sync is bullshit. I'm a newskool DJ. After almost 20 years of buying and making electronic music i decided to learn how to DJ last year. I skipped vinyl because all my music is on CD and (since starting DJing) MP3. I bought a VCI-380, which is the sickest Serato controller there is. I learned on my friends' CDJs and my 380; i preferred the 380 because i got to choose from my entire collection instead of just whatever i had copied to a USB. Either way, i never once hit the sync button because i wanted to learn how to play like a "real DJ". Then i came to Berlin and realized the vast majority of DJs use Traktor (with sync button) and a handful of older DJs use Traktor (with vinyl timecode). Learning to beatmatch was a waste of time - learning to blend was way more important. I'm still learning that part.

    The whole concept of sync vs not is bullshit. Learning how to beatmatch is about as useful as learning how to drive a manual transmission in a car. Fun if you are a nerd, but completely irrelevant to actually being able to do what you're setting out to do, which is get a bunch of people dancing to some great tunes. I haven't met a single international-touring DJ who still uses vinyl - almost everyone i know is laptop or USB nowadays because you can carry your whole music collection with you, and even if somehow it ends up in lost property, you can still download your tunes from the cloud and play wherever you end up. If you are a hardcore vinyl or CDJ nerd, go timecode (works on Traktor as well as Serato). If you don't care, buy a 380 (Serato) or an S2/S4 (Traktor) and go nuts. And if you hate it, go back to vinyl. Most clubs still have 1200s, so for a while at least you can keep working with your favorite thing.
  8. JamesM

    JamesM TRIBE Member

    Well DJing has always been an art form. Part of the discipline is being able to beat match. Like otherwise DJing is just a toy. Anyone can fuck with sliders and EQ's.

    Brutal. (From what I've heard) Native instruments is getting rid of the sync button anyway.

    Maybe we can go back to not being push play DJs again. Just simply lazy.

    Driving a car is to get from point A to point B so fine automatic. You're driving a formula 1 car. I don't think you're going to find a sync button.

    Part of the beatmatching introduces personality into your set.
  9. catilyst

    catilyst TRIBE Member

    Thanks all for the info.

    Sounds like either way a controller is involved which I hadn't taken into account. And the prices of these softwares aren't too bad I must say, which takes some pressure off.

    Still not sure which way I'll go in terms of platforms.

    Guess I'll keep an eye out for controllers in the meantime, if anyone's selling one used..

    Re sync - personally I think the anti crowd is over the top. I think it's obvious there's resentment on how 'easy' things are now, which ultimately shows me how far things have evolved. In my case, I can beat match on turntables pretty well so having earning that badge I wouldn't feel guilty of automating that process. Sort of like I've earned the right. If I could then spend the time I would have beat matching using software creatively, outboard effects or whatever then I see that as step forward.
  10. alison87

    alison87 TRIBE Member

    Catilyst, if you go timecode you don't need a controller - you just get a little box that plugs in between your existing turntables and your mixer, with a connection to the computer. Then you play special timecode records that control your software. The main benefit there is that you can now play music from your whole digital collection. You don't need a controller because you can still do everything on the computer, although having a controller will mean you spend less time looking at your laptop.

    The most common timecode setup i see here is laptop, Faderfox, two timecode records, and a small audio interface. These DJs occasionally also bring some real records to mix into their set for nostalgic reasons. The other popular laptop setup is just laptop plus Traktor S4. "Oldskool" DJs who don't want to bring their laptop tend to just bring USBs and mix on the CDJs, but i'd say at least 75% of the DJs i see nowadays play from laptop. This is in the German deep house/tech house scene anyway. I think techno is still a bit more fussy.

    By the way, James, i love electronic music, it is the most important thing in my life, but i would never consider DJs formula one drivers. More like bus drivers. I don't go clubbing to watch a beatmatching competition, i go clubbing to escape my work life and be transported into another world. For me a good DJ is like a good waiter - the better they are, the less you notice they're there. My most favorite sets are the ones where i get so deep into the groove i forget to Shazam a song, or maybe i don't even notice where one song ended and another one started. I give precisely zero fucks what tools the DJ is using, and that's true for most of the people on the dancefloor.
  11. JamesM

    JamesM TRIBE Member

    fair enough.
  12. JamesM

    JamesM TRIBE Member

    i do like hearing the occasional clapping during a mix. It reminds me that there is still a human behind it, afterall.
  13. JamesM

    JamesM TRIBE Member

    then you find yourself routing for them not to trainwreck it. if they deliver it sends the vibe into a different stratosphere!
  14. [- FuNKtiOn -]

    [- FuNKtiOn -] TRIBE Member

    I think this is getting heavily overcomplicated... the main question you need to ask yourself:
    do you just want a way to play tunes like you used to, but via mp3s instead of the vinyl you originally bought? Or do you want to ditch your decks and find a new system?

    If switching systems is the plan then yes look at Traktor S4 (probably the best of the best) or the something else like the TR-1 (although is there no cross fader on it?) or Vestax Itch in the "dj controller" market... Most have the option to sync or go manual beatmatching I believe.

    but otherwise buy this Serato box (which is a "DJ interface" technically", as it plugs into existing ways of controlling the sound via cdj/turntable and mixer):
    With a couple of timecode vinyls:
    and you will be a USB plug away from playing music from a laptop through the familiar method of your turntables which you've obviously taken pride in learning the skills of. There is no syncing option if you go this route though, but you can still drop vinyl in the mix too this way.

    I've never even seen this Faderfox thing before so can't speak for that, but Serato is a gem because you can gig on any cdjs or vinyl turntables and not have to worry about carrying gear if you want to play elsewhere.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
  15. Subsonic Chronic

    Subsonic Chronic TRIBE Member

    I picked up a Traktor S4 as a semi-impulse buy a week ago and so far I'm really stoked on it and the purely digital approach to DJ'ing. It had been about 7 years since I'd sold my turntables and this seemed like the easiest way to get back into it without having to buy decks, a mixer, and records/cds.

    As far as I'm concerned, the argument about sync vs. beatmatching manually is kind of bullshit for two big reasons: 1) being good at beatmatching in itself doesn't make you a good DJ, and 2) there's so much more that you can do creatively with the music when you don't have to waste time beatmatching. You can layer tracks more effectively and don't have to worry about little shit like your mix going off beat when one of the tracks is in a breakdown or a section without beats to match. Bottom line for me when I'm listening to someone play out is that I want to hear good music and I don't particularly care whether that's being done over a laptop, Cd decks, or a pair of phonographs like my parents used to listen to. Besides, it strikes me as a touch ironic if you insist that music created entirely on computers must be played via old fashioned analogue equipment for the simple reason that this is how it's been done for the past 20 years.

    Another huge plus of the digital side is being able to purchase and mix a track within a minute or two of deciding that you want it. No having to go to a physical store or wait a week for an online order to arrive by mail.

    Anyway, at least as far as the Traktor controller is concerned, I'd definitely recommend it.
  16. catilyst

    catilyst TRIBE Member

    Thanks everyone for your various input - still looking into everything mentioned here and trolling the buy and sells.technics1200ch33setechnics1200
  17. catilyst

    catilyst TRIBE Member

    Ended up grabbing a used Traktor S4 to mess around with and really like it so far. Really appreciate everyone input.

    Going to start a new thread on laptops, as mine isn't up to the task.

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